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The 16 common mistakes cosmetics brands make

Updated: Nov 25, 2023

Melted golden ice-cream  on the pink background as a symbol of beaty brands' errors

1. Understanding the customer and her/his priorities:

The ultimate goal of each brand is to find its customer and ideally a loyal customer. In an ideal world the brand creators need to find an unsatisfied need first and propose a solution for the burning problem. In reality often the companies create something, offer this to everyone and then try to identify who their customers are. In addition to that they may offer only part of the solution. For example, lots of sun care brands offer high SPF protection, but don’t think that it shouldn’t leave white marks or oily spots. Or many brands offer natural eco-friendly formula forgetting that their customers want first of all to look younger.

2. Having too complex and difficult to understand the brand and / or the product concept:

Every owner loves his/her own brand and understands every detail about it. It doesn’t mean the owner can easily translate the same knowledge and understanding to the consumer. If a brand is difficult to explain to its audience, if the packaging is overloaded with the information, if all the lineup looks more or less the same, it will be difficult to sell without a beauty adviser. If it is difficult to sell without a beauty advisor it will be hard to find the distributors and the retailers. For D2C brands not clear websites and lack of structured information may lead to low conversion rate.

3. Overpricing of cosmetics brands:

Setting exorbitant retail prices for products that may not justify their quality or effectiveness. Sometimes small brands don’t have enough scale to manage the cost effectively and have to set higher prices to cover the cost. It is fair when the customer is paying more for the added value and point of differentiation, but s/he shouldn’t pay extra for non-optimised cost management.

In some cases cosmetics brands set way too high ex-works or wholesale prices that don't allow them to expand effectively and to find the distributors and/ or retailers willing and capable to develop the beauty brand for a margin below average.

4. Ignoring Customer Feedback:

Dismissing or not actively seeking feedback from customers, which can lead to missed opportunities for improvement. The 2 examples of brands who set positive trends in this direction and develop products in close collaboration with the customers are Bubble skincare and Ouai haircare.

5. Weak Competitive Analysis:

Failing to understand and adapt to competitors' strategies can put the brand at a disadvantage. Also any beauty brand needs to be very clear about its point of differentiation and competitive advantage.

6. Overexpansion of cosmetics brands:

Rapidly expanding product lines or entering too many stores or too many markets can lead to overextension and dilute brand focus. Expanding cosmetics brands need to remember about SKU, door and channel productivity and profitability. Expanding in a dilutive way will not allow to deliver sustainable business growth.

7. Inadequate Supply Chain Management and Inefficient Inventory Management:

Poor management of the supply chain can lead to product shortages, delays, or quality control issues.

Overstocking or understocking products can result in financial losses and missed sales opportunities. This relates not only to the own warehouse stock level, but also to the stock in trade (at the distributor warehouse or on the cosmetic store shelves). In the long term overstocking seems to be even more dangerous than understocking and can lead to dramatic drop in shipments.

8. Insufficient Ingredient Transparency:

Not fully disclosing all ingredients, making it challenging for consumers with allergies or specific preferences. Another angles of the same problem can be:

  • Strong focus on quite generally used ingredients that are not truly unique.

  • Accent on natural ingredients and not mentioning that they can be strong allergens.

  • Promoting clean beauty concept without mentioning that the ingredients may be safe, but not always effective.

9. Lack of Inclusivity and Limited Representation:

Failing to offer a diverse range of products that cater to various skin tones, hair types, and gender identities. Another variation of this mistake can be a situation when the brand does have an inclusive product range, but doesn’t communicate about it. Thus, Fenty beauty have declared themselves an inclusive brand entering the market with 50 shades. Long before this MAC had 64 shades, but didn’t make direct strong focus on it in the communication .

Failing to showcase a diverse range of models and influencers in advertising and marketing campaigns.

10. Environmental Impact:

Neglecting sustainability by using excessive packaging or harmful ingredients, contributing to environmental issues. Sometimes the product packaging and product formula themselves are sustainable, but the delivery box in the e-commerce is too large or made of non-sustainable material.

11. Ignoring Regulatory Compliance:

Failing to adhere to local and international regulations regarding product safety and labelling can result in legal issues and recalls.

12. Lack of Innovation:

Not keeping up with technological advancements or failing to innovate in product development can lead to stagnation.

13. Inadequate Customer Service:

Providing subpar customer service can result in customer dissatisfaction and damage the brand's reputation.

14. Failing to Adapt to Market Trends:

Not staying current with industry trends and consumer preferences can lead to declining relevance.

15. Ignoring Data and Analytics:

Neglecting to analyse customer data and market trends can hinder decision-making and growth strategies.

16. Not Prioritising Ethics or Neglecting Brand Value:

Ignoring ethical concerns such as animal testing, labour practices, or sourcing of ingredients. Not aligning business practices with brand values and ethics can lead to a loss of trust among consumers and employees.

These business mistakes can have a significant impact on a beauty brand's long-term success and sustainability.


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